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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie

2016 May 25
by Emily Hill

This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Superberries. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Every time I make smoothies I wonder why I don’t make smoothies more often. They’re not hard, they taste good, they’re good for you and the entire family loves them. And thanks to making too much of this antioxidant-packed tropical berry smoothie, I discovered some of them can be refrigerated for hours.

I’ve shared a handful of smoothies on this site, from my favorite island green smoothie to the slightly decadent copycat peanut butter moo’d smoothie, but I’m pretty sure none were as rich in antioxidants as this tropical berry smoothie.

Spinach leaves can only do so much…

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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I lightened up this berry smoothie by using unsweetened almond milk instead of regular milk and low-fat yogurt instead of full fat. I also substituted my favorite light orange juice (Tropicana’s Trop50) for the typical higher calorie, higher sugar standard. Throw in a frozen blend of tropical fruit (mangoes, pineapple, strawberries), banana and Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate and you have one delightfully delicious, good-for-you smoothie!

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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I bet many of you haven’t heard of the aronia berry. I was totally clueless before this smoothie. The antioxidant-rich aronia berry (aka chokeberry or chokecherry) is native to North America and provides the most balanced protection against the five most common free radicals which can lead to illness. Science has confirmed that diets rich in antioxidants can help us maintain good health, especially with respect to aging and age-related disorders.

You better believe I’m all over anything that fights aging!

This tropical berry smoothie features Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate from Superberries, a brand of health and wellness products featuring aronia berries. Their Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate has over 7 pounds of aronia berries pressed into the 16 ounces of juice. Thanks to all that superfruit goodness, the concentrate is full of powerful nutritional compounds like anthocyanins, polyphenols and flavonoids that help deliver health and wellness benefits to your eyes, joints, cardiovascular and other body systems.

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Superberries Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate.

I bet you could use Organic Frozen Aroniaberries in this smoothie; just add a little extra almond milk if it gets too thick. Frozen aronia berries would be great atop yogurt or cereal or in your favorite dessert sauce. Aronia berries have one of the highest antioxidant ratings of any fruit and vegetable (hence the name superfruit), so if you have a favorite berry recipe, trying adding frozen aronia berries instead.

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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie - This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate.

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I’m anxious to try the Aroniaberry+ Daily Wellness Shots, an energy enhancer with both aronia berry, aceroal berry (naturally rich in Vitamin C) and green tea . These shots are a convenient way to enhance energy without the big jolt that usually comes when using other energy enhancers.

Plus I’m pretty sure these shots are healthier for me than the Diet Coke ones I’m downing all day.

If you’re planning to vacay with the family this summer and want to provide a healthier option to typical road trip or airplane snacks, add Aroniaberry Gummy Chews to your packing list. They don’t take up much space and won’t put you over that 50-lb limit but they will provide everyone with a powerful burst of berry flavor and antioxidants.
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*** Get $5 OFF all Superberries products through June 30th with code INVacation. ***

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Printable recipe for antioxidant-packed tropical berry smoothie below. Enjoy!
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Antioxidant-Packed Tropical Berry Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This tropical berry smoothie features a blend of pineapple, mangoes and strawberries plus antioxidant-rich organic aronia berry concentrate. Makes approx. two 16-oz smoothies
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or coconut milk or regular milk)
  • 1 cup Tropicana Trop50 orange juice (or your favorite OJ)
  • 2 tsp Organic Aroniaberry Concentrate
  • ¼ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
  • 1 banana
  • ½ (16-oz) package frozen tropical fruit blend (approx. 1½ cups)
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients in blender in order listed and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

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Here are a few more of my favorite smoothie recipes. Mmm…

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 - only 3 ingredients and so yummy!


Pina colada smoothie

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Tropical tart cherry smoothie


Tropical tart cherry smoothie

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Emergen-C orange vanilla smoothie


Orange vanilla smoothie

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Island green smoothie


Island green smoothie

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Copycat Peanut Butter Moo'd Smoothie


Copycat peanut butter moo’d smoothie

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Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Shake -- packed with over 30 grams of protein and less than 13 grams of sugar (8 grams from banana). Delicious chocolate peanut butter smoothie taste!


Double peanut butter chocolate protein shake

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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12 Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes Perfect for College Students

2016 May 24
by Emily Hill

Quick and easy make-ahead breakfast recipes with budget-friendly ingredients are perfect for college students with little time and money.

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12 Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes Perfect for College Students - short list of ingredients and little time required. Perfect for students on the go!

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My oldest daughter heads to BYU in the fall and I’m in denial. I’m definitely not old enough to have a graduate and I’m definitely not ready for her to leave home, but apparently I have no choice. Like me, she’ll be staying in on-campus housing, but unlike me, she’ll have a kitchen.

I was all about the cafeteria my first year…and the freshman 15.

Hopefully with a kitchen she can eat a bit healthier and avoid those first-year pounds. I thought I could help her out by rounding up 12 make-ahead breakfast recipes perfect for college students. Because most college students are on a budget, I chose recipes that required fewer—and fairly normal—ingredients. Of course, these recipes aren’t just for college students; they’re perfect for anyone on the go!
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Make ahead breakfast quesadilla
Make Ahead Breakfast Quesadilla with Cheese Spinach and White Beans from Well Plated

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Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough overnight oats
Peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough overnight oats from Fit Foodie Finds

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Perfect freezer friendly breakfast burritos
Perfect breakfast burritos (freezer friendly) from Ten at the Table

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Cheese and Bacon Hash Brown Muffins
Cheese and bacon hash brown muffins from Recipe Tin Eats

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Toasted almond and honey overnight oats
Toasted almond and honey overnight oats from Back to Her Roots

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Freezer breakfast sandwiches
Freezer breakfast sandwiches from Damn Delicious

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Make ahead smoothies
Make ahead smoothies from Baked Bree

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Southwest make ahead breakfast burritos
Southwest make ahead breakfast burritos from The Cookie Rookie

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Hash brown egg nests with avocado
Hash brown egg nests with avocado from The Cooking Jar

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Strawberry overnight oats
Strawberry overnight oats from A Pumpkin & a Princess

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Make ahead breakfast bakes
Make ahead breakfast bakes from Sugar Dish Me

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No-bake peanut butter oatmeal protein bites 1 -- THE BEST recipe for energy bites I have ever tasted!
Peanut butter oatmeal protein bites from Is This Really My Life

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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“Best Buds” Father’s Day Gift Idea

2016 May 20
by Emily Hill

Remind Dad he’s your best friend—and you’re his favorite—with this quick and easy Father’s Day gift idea with free printable tag.

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

Post may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.

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Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with a Father’s Day gift idea, especially if you’ve celebrated multiple Father’s Days. You for sure want to avoid these 10 gifts, and yet that 3D TV Dad wants is probably out of the budget.

At least it’s out of mine.

But who doesn’t love a new pair of earbuds? I’m constantly misplacing mine (or the kids steal them), and I love having a spare pair in multiple places. Plus, unless you’re going for a pair of serious audiophile-friendly earbuds, you can get a pretty great pair for under $10. The Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones in blue and orange are around $7 and have fantastic reviews. The Panasonic earbuds in black are around $12 and include a mic/controller, which is a must-have for Nathan and which I find super handy for conference calls or long chats with my mom.

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

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Pair your pair of new earbuds with this super cute Father’s Day printable gift tag, and you’re sure to be Dad’s favorite. Nothing says “I love you the BEST!” like the perfect practical gift AND a reminder YOU are Dad’s “best bud.”

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

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I’ve created both a PDF with a single tag and one with multiple tags in case you’re using this as a fun Father’s Day activity with a small group or class. Note: They print slightly darker than pictured. Natural light was not my friend when photographing.

To download your Father’s Day printable gift tag, click on an image or link below the image and save the file(s) to your desktop. But before you do, please read the following rules:

  • Is This Really My Life printables are for personal use only.
  • If you decide to re-post or use the image, you MUST cite the source and include a link to this post.
  • Personalization and other customizations are not available on free printables; they’re offered “as-is.”

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

Download the free SINGLE Father’s Day printable gift tag HERE.

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Best Buds Father's Day printable gift tag - you will be the favorite with this Fathers Day gift idea!

Download the free FULL PAGE Father’s Day printable gift tag HERE.

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If you’re looking for another fun Father’s Day gift idea, you could totally use this Mountain Dew printable gift tag for Dad. Nothing like keeping Dad happy and caffeinated!

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Mountain Dew printable gift tag -- perfect for teacher appreciation or any Dew-lover appreciation!

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Visit my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board to see what else I’ve been creating!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Coconut Monster Cookies

2016 May 17
by Emily Hill

These non-traditional coconut monster cookies feature M&Ms, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips & coconut…and they’re monstrously good!

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Coconut monster cookies -- a tasty variation of the tradition monster cookie. It features peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms and coconut. So yummy!

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Sometimes I browse the grocery store baking aisle much longer than I should. I can’t help it—so many fun things line the shelves and you never know what you’ll discover. On my last visit to Walmart, I stumbled across the new Sam’s Choice recipe mix-ins. There were at least three varieties and I couldn’t resist grabbing a couple. You know me, I’m all about taste testing new dessert ideas.

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Coconut monster cookies -- a tasty variation of the tradition monster cookie. It features peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms and coconut. So yummy!

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These coconut monster cookies used the Dream Bars recipe mix-in, and yes, you’re supposed to make peanut butter bar cookies with them.

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Sams Choice Recipe Mix-Ins Dream Bar Blend 2.

While I’m sure those are delightful, I wanted to test it out in my favorite cookie dough. Pretty sure they were just as delightful because I couldn’t stop eating them.

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Coconut monster cookies -- a tasty variation of the tradition monster cookie. It features peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, M&Ms and coconut. So yummy!

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You could totally make these without the pre-packaged add-ins, but sometimes you’re lazy and don’t always have peanut butter chips or M&Ms on hand because if you did, you’d eat the entire bag before baking anything with them.

It’s a real problem.

But if I had to guess, I’d say there’s about a 1/2 cup of each mix-in, so you can totally make these without the Sam’s Choice Dream Bar Recipe Mix-Ins. Either way, they’re absolutely delicious fresh from the freezer…

Printable recipe for coconut monster cookies below. Enjoy!
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Coconut Monster Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A tasty variation of the traditional monster cookies recipe. If you don't have or want the Sam's Choice Recipe Mix-Ins Dream Bar Blend, see the notes for substitutions.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookies
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (3.4-oz) package vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-oz) package Sam's Choice Recipe Mix-Ins Dream Bar Blend
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in instant pudding mix until blended. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in Dream Bar Blend.
  5. Place rounded tablespoonfuls of dough on ungreased cookie sheet or silicone baking mat. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Let cool 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
If you don't want to use the Dream Bar Blend, try substituting a ½ cup for each mix-in (1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, ½ cup peanut butter chips, ½ cup M&Ms, ½ cup dried coconut).

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Here are a few more of my favorite cookies that are super freezer friendly.

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Grandmas Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies -- you will be amazed how the addition of chopped pecans makes these cookies totally irresistible. Trust me on this one.


Chocolate chip pecan cookies

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Brownie Cookies - decadent, chocolaty and super chewy. To die for!


Brownie cookies

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Amazing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - the best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever bake!


Amazing oatmeal raisin cookies

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Butterfinger Pudding Cookies - the perfect cookie for Butterfinger lovers! Soft and chewy with chunks of Butterfinger candy.


Butterfinger pudding cookies

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M&Ms Pudding Cookies -- the softest, chewiest cookies packed with M&Ms in every bite!


M&Ms pudding cookies

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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15 Pressure Cooker Dessert Recipes

2016 May 12
by Emily Hill

You haven’t truly made good use of your pressure cooker until you’ve made one of these decadent pressure cooker dessert recipes!

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15 Pressure Cooker Dessert Recipes -- As far as I am concerned, a dessert is one of the best ways to officially break in your new pressure cooker.

Post may include affiliate links to help support my Diet Coke habit.

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My sister received a pressure cooker for Mother’s Day…and I cook three times as often. Doesn’t quite seem fair, but that’s okay. My anniversary is in June and my birthday in September. All I need to do is buy one for either one of those occasions and let Nathan wrap it. That’s really the best (only) way to get my new Instant Pot! Until then, I’ll drool over every one of these 15 pressure cooker dessert recipes.

By the way, if you want the best resource for pressure cooker recipes, check out Pressure Cooking Today. I could have done a pressure cooker dessert roundup using solely that site!
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pressure cooker dulce de leche
Pressure cooker dulce de leche from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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pressure cooker coconut rice pudding
Pressure cooker coconut rice pudding from Magic Skillet

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How to make cake in the pressure cooker
How to make chocolate cake in the pressure cooker from Edible Garden

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Pressure cooker mango cake
Pressure cooker mango cake from Simple Indian Recipes

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Instant Pot salted caramel cheesecake
Instant Pot salted caramel cheesecake from Cookies & Cups

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Instant Pot Oreo cheesecake
Instant Pot Oreo cheesecake from My Baking Addiction

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Eggless chocolate cake in the pressure cooker
Egg-less chocolate cake in the pressure cooker from Blend with Spices

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Pressure cooker baked apples
Pressure cooker baked apples from Hip Pressure Cooking

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pressure cooker low-carb vanilla bean cheesecake
Pressure cooker low-carb vanilla bean cheesecake from Health Starts in the Kitchen

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pressure cooker pineapple upside down cake
Pressure cooker pineapple upside down cake from Lincy’s Cook Art

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Best double chocolate cheesecake
The best double chocolate cheesdcake from Pastry Chef Online

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peanut butter cup cheesecake
Pressure cooker peanut butter cup cheesecake from Pressure Cooking Today

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Coconut banana & lime bread pudding in the pressure cooker
Coconut, banana & lime bread pudding from The Garum Factory

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eggless caramel bread pudding recipe steamed no bake bread pudding
Eggless caramel bread pudding from Veg Recipes of India

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vegan pressure cooker cashew lemon cheesecake
Pressure cooker cashew lemon cheezecake from Healthy Slow Cooking (and no, that “z” is not a typo)

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Mountain Dew Printable Gift Tag

2016 May 10
by Emily Hill

Though originally created as a teacher appreciation gift, this Mountain Dew printable gift tag is the perfect thank-you gift for any Dew drinker!

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Mountain Dew printable gift tag -- perfect for teacher appreciation or any Dew-lover appreciation!

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One of our teachers’ most requested gifts is a gift card to the local car wash. Being a fan of Fabulous Freddy’s (they have pebble ice and amazing cookies), I’m all over giving the gift of a sparkling car with complimentary air freshener. But I wanted to do a little more than a gift card slipped into a thank-you note, so I did some research to find out George’s and Livi’s teachers’ favorite beverage. Lucky for me they both drink Mountain Dew!

A few minutes of amateur graphic designing and voilà, a simple yet seriously cute Mountain Dew printable gift tag.

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Mountain Dew printable gift tag -- perfect for teacher appreciation or any Dew-lover appreciation!

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I know Teacher Appreciation Week is over, but it’s still Teacher Appreciation Month, which means it’s not too late to give the gift of Mountain Dew accompanied by a favorite gift card—think Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble—and super cute printable gift tag.

To download the printable gift tag for your Mountain Dew teacher (or anyone) appreciation gift, click on the image or the link below the image and save the file to your desktop. But before you do, please read the following rules:

  • Is This Really My Life printables are for personal use only.
  • If you decide to re-post or use the image, you MUST cite the source and include a link to this post.
  • Personalization and other customizations are not available on free printables; they’re offered “as-is.”

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Mountain Dew printable gift tag -- perfect for teacher appreciation or any Dew-lover appreciation!

Download the free Mountain Dew printable gift tag HERE.

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If you’re looking for another fun teacher gift (this one involves chocolate!), check out my Lindt truffles teacher appreciation gift with a seriously clever gift tag. Sometimes I get all creative and stuff.

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Lindt Truffles Teacher Appreciation Gift -- you will for sure be the favorite if you give your teacher a mason jar filled with Lindt truffles!

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Visit my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board for more “yummy” posts.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Toffee Apple Dip

2016 May 5
by Emily Hill

Toffee apple dip is quite possibly the most delicious dessert dip I’ve ever tasted. It’s creamy and crunchy and pairs perfectly with a variety of apples.

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Toffee Apple Dip -- only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes  for the most decadent dessert dip. Perfect with apples, graham crackers, pretzels...the options are endless!

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Like the corn salad I posted earlier this week, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to make this toffee apple dip. It calls for only five ingredients and takes about five minutes…which is about three minutes too long once you’ve tasted it.

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Toffee Apple Dip -- only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes  for the most decadent dessert dip. Perfect with apples, graham crackers, pretzels...the options are endless!

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I’ve been wanting to try my hand at those super fun short-form videos floating around Facebook, and while this video featuring said toffee apple dip is super amateur, I had so much fun making it.
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What you don’t see is an apple falling off the plate and onto the floor and the hand mixer nearly falling over. Perhaps I should start an outtake reel for my recipe videos!

Did you catch the creaminess of the toffee dip in the video? If not, here’s a closeup:

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Toffee Apple Dip -- only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes  for the most decadent dessert dip. Perfect with apples, graham crackers, pretzels...the options are endless!

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Though this dessert dip is usually paired with apples (I prefer Gala and Granny Smith), I bet it would be just as divine with graham crackers, pretzels and maybe even bananas—if you can dip them without losing them.

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Toffee Apple Dip -- only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes  for the most decadent dessert dip. Perfect with apples, graham crackers, pretzels...the options are endless!

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Printable recipe for toffee apple dip below. Enjoy!
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5.0 from 1 reviews
Toffee Apple Dip
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Toffee apple dip is quite possibly the most delicious dessert dip I've ever tasted. It's creamy and crunchy and pairs perfectly with a variety of apples.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened (I prefer neufchatel)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 (1.4-oz) toffee bars, crushed
Instructions
  1. Combine cream cheese, sugars and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy.
  2. Fold in toffee bars and serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.

 
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Here are a few more delicious apple-friendly desserts!

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Easy Apple Pull-Apart Bread -- great way to use leftover apple slices from your pies and crostatas!


Apple pull-apart bread

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Easy Apple Apricot Crostata -- puff pastry makes it simple AND beautiful and oh so flaky and yummy!


Easy apple apricot crostata

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Dutch apple pie


Dutch apple pie (my favorite!)

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Looking for more yummy recipes? Try browsing my best of Is This Really My Life Pinterest board. I guarantee you’ll find quite a few!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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